Station Automation and Remote Control

Operating position was moved in 2016 from garage to a small outbuilding.
Rotor controllers for HF beam and AZ/EL VHF/UHF antennae are left in garage and now controlled over WiFi network using home build AE-21 controllers and serial to telnet bridges. Spared me running 3x 100ft rotor cables. PstRotator program is used to talk to them. Later a WiFi TV rotor was added for RX loops.

Most of station automation is accomplished with home build WiFI-IO24 modules.

  • ESP8266 WiFi module CPU 80 MHz, 32KB RAM, 4MB FLASH
  • 24 open-drain 0.15A outputs
  • 2 analog inputs to measure Forward / Reflected power.

 

 

 

One WiFi-IO24 is located in the Shack for antenna switching.
Home brewed L/C tuner is located in the base of the 160M-40M Vertical and 40M Vertical Delta in the backyard and controlled with WiFi-IO24. Switched 8 inductors (0.3 – 14.5uH) and 8 capacitors (7-2633pF) banks, SWR bridge and 3 port antenna switch.

WiFi-IO24 board can be controlled simultaneously in 3 ways:

  • UDP listen to packets from N1MM++ or DXlab and change band and antenna accordingly. Just turn the knob or change band and it will follow, without TXing.
  • WEB interface. Used for setup, diagnostic and firmware update. Tuner has WEB page to monitor Power / SWR and manually change frequency and select antenna. When frequency or antenna selection are changed it will send an UDP packet to inform all other devices.Transmitting on 40M using Delta Loop. Two antennae on this band to chose from.
  • telnet used for setup, antenna tuning and frequency / antenna selection.

Next project will be a USB CAT to WiFi cable for Flex-6000 series. It will send UDP packets with frequency information, based on the active slice. This will allow me to operate remotely, without PC running in the shack.